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A Festive Season of Celebrations, Programs, Events, and Activities Ahead with Director of Community Life, Jessica Buck

November 28, 2022

The team of caring, compassionate, and attentive professionals at The Hearth at Drexel, a licensed Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Bala Cynwyd, PA, is looking forward to sharing a festive holiday season with residents. Jessica Buck, Director of Community Life, ensures that this joyous season’s activities, celebrations, events, and programs are heartwarming, entertaining, and fun. She lovingly contributes to the cozy atmosphere at The Hearth, not only during the holiday season but all year round and has done so for the last six years.

According to Jessica, “One of the loveliest attributes of life at The Hearth is that the resident population represents people of both Christian and Jewish faiths, and they truly appreciate learning about one another’s traditions during the holidays. They discuss the historical significance of rituals and celebrations that have shaped their religious traditions and share delicious recipes for special holiday foods they have enjoyed preparing throughout their lives.”

She adds, “Whenever we have Christmas tree trimming events, in the households, for example, the Jewish residents participate because they enjoy the camaraderie of being involved with such a fun, festive and lighthearted occasion.” She adds, “And everyone enjoys cutting out cookie dough shapes in anticipation of baking mouthwatering goodies.”

One is especially meaningful among the many celebrations and programs to enjoy during the holiday season at The Hearth. Jessica explains, “A classical music concert program is being offered at The Hearth, the idea conceived and promoted by the resident, Bea Rossman, who was one of the community’s cultural doyennes.

Music is a key element of entertainment here. This fall, residents and their family members enjoyed an outdoor picnic with live music under a tent,” elaborates Jessica.

“We have several celebrations planned for residents and the team to enjoy during upcoming weeks that everyone is looking forward to, particularly two Christmas cocktail parties for residents on Dec. 19th and 20th and a special holiday party is planned on the 21st for Hanukkah,” says Jessica.

According to Chef Donald, who is excited to indulge residents with their favorite dishes during the holidays, he, along with Director of Dining Services Chris, will be creating delectable alcoholic and non-alcoholic libations involving cranberries and other seasonal fruit to serve in sparkling drinks for the parties, to accompany the hot hors d’oeuvres.

There are so many on-site events planned for the holidays at The Hearth that Jessica plans to take residents offsite on excursions when the party season cools. Several ideas under discussion are to take a trip to see the Matisse Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or to visit Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

“During this holiday season, we all enjoy being together and are grateful to be celebrating the spirit of the holidays and the love and caring we all share here at The Hearth,” says Jessica.

Holiday Punch Recipe

People like lighter drinks for a party to avoid Christmas cocktails being too heavy or strong, so a punch is a terrific idea. Cranberry punch can be turned into Cranberry Sangria, or a Cranberry Prosecco Punch can be made with or for a seasonally themed drink.

Adding cherries or pomegranates will make the holiday drink redder than Rudolf’s nose and Santa’s suit.

Tips for a Holiday Punch

  • Using cranberry juice allows this to serve as a casual brunch or mid-afternoon cocktail. If you prefer a more potent holiday drink, swap out cranberry juice for cranberry-flavored vodka or wine.
  • You can substitute pomegranate juice, orange juice, or even some limeade for cranberry juice.
  • For this recipe, you’ll want plenty of ice on hand, and those cute rosemary springs are not totally necessary but add a festive touch.
  • Sugared cranberries threaded onto a cocktail toothpick make for a festive holiday garnish.
  • Sparkling rose can be used instead of Prosecco or champagne.
  • We use cranberry ginger ale in our holiday punch recipe. However, regular ginger ale or a lemon-lime soda such as Sprite or 7-Up will work fine if you can’t find it.

Ingredients for Cranberry Holiday Punch

  • 1 cup cranberries, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup cranberry juice (or cranberry vodka, if desired)
  • 1-750mL bottle of prosecco or champagne
  • 2 cups cranberry ginger ale, or more, as desired
  • 1/3 cup simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Rosemary sprigs, optional garnish